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Tesla faces new rival as a tech giant launches its first EV

Tesla is about to face even more competition in the Chinese market as Xiaomi prepares to enter the auto sector.

Deliveries of its first-ever electric vehicle (EV) will begin on March 28, Xiaomi revealed on Tuesday.

Succeeding where Apple failed, the Beijing-based tech giant famous for its affordable smartphones, smartwatches, and other tech devices, will offer consumers in its home nation the sporty Speed Ultra 7 (SU7), which it unveiled last year.

Xiaomi claims the SU7 can accelerate faster than some Tesla and Porsche EVs, the BBC reported, and has a range of up to 497 miles (800 kilometers). Xiaomi’s new EV also comes with driver-assist features and a digital cockpit and is already on display at 59 showrooms in 29 cities across China, according to the South China Morning Post.

It has yet to announce the price of the SU7, but some local news reports suggest it will sell for between 250,000 yuan (US$34,800) and 370,000 yuan ($51,500). Tesla’s Shanghai-made Model 3 is similarly priced at between 245,900 yuan and 285,900 yuan.

Tesla has been cutting the cost of its cars in China to keep pace with price reductions by the likes of BYD, another Chinese automaker that has made significant gains in the EV market in recent years with its affordable offerings and is starting to see success in overseas markets, too.

Xiaomi said it plans to invest $10 billion in its vehicle business over the next 10 years and may expand sales of the SU7 to global markets within the next couple of years. It added that its stated goal is to become one of the world’s top five automakers in the next 15 to 20 years.

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